No Grain Challenge

What is the challenge?

The premise is that sugar causes inflammation in the colon of the horse much like wheat gluten is inflammatory in some people.  Not all horses are affected the same way.  Some have no problems, some have minor issues (slight girthiness) and others are affected in a big way with only small amounts of sugar.

  • First – Read the article below called “Why horses should not be fed grain.”  This includes corn, wheat, oats as well as carrots, treats and supplements with grain in them (wheat mids or middlings and others).
  • Second – Get a calendar and circle the starting date and then write every sign you can think of that your horse is having a problem with.  Over the next 2 weeks, write down your observations of these issues in your horses.
  • Third – Feed only hay (grass or grass plus a legume like alfalfa), pasture, water and pure salt (Himalayan or rock).
  • Fourth – After 2 weeks send me your diary (video in landscape is better) and give me permission to post it here so others can learn from your experience with the “2 week no-grain challenge. (All testimonies are written or expressed in their own words by their authors and are printed and posted with their permission).

This test costs you no money.  If you can’t see any benefit then just go back to what you were doing.  If your horse becomes skinny in 2 weeks either contact me or go back to what you were doing.  It is ONLY 2 WEEKS.  No one will die from this but if some or all of your issues disappear, won’t this test be worth it?

Still in doubt??  Scroll down and see or read the testimonials below.  These are real people in their own words.

There are more articles and some links below to better understand horse nutrition and find materials to help your horse.

And when you’re ready, enroll in The Horsemanship Nutrition Course – a self paced and self testing course where you can really dig in and find out how the food that goes into your horse is first converted into fuel and second how that fuel is converted into energy within the cell.  Once you understand this two step process you will completely understand how putting the wrong food into your horse leads directly to body inflammation and disease.

Ask yourself this one question:
How is what you are doing working for you?

The Horsemanship Nutrition CourseThe Horse's Advocate University

Posts to read:

Video and written testimonials:

Two Days To A New Horse


Jack And Kendra – A Calm Horse Is Found


Comments 8

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      She mixed Dengi which is a commercially made chopped and cured hay made in the northeast and is common on the East coast. Some Dengi has molasses added and some do not. You can use any chopped forage to mix the other ingredients she talks about here. Or just feed the hay you are giving now and add the protein as a separate bucket.

      Thanks for checking out this information.

  1. What is your take on beet pulp shreds (soaked and rinsed) and rice bran? I have never been a big fan of grain, but have a grade paint
    gelding that I am struggling to build top line on. He is over 16 yrs old and was neglected for some time as he traveled through the sale barn systems.

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      Both beet pulp and rice bran are byproducts of their industries. Neither have protein required to build a top line. Please read the articles on protein. In addition, follow my blog at I am doing a series on equine nutrition now which will eventually be added here.

  2. I have just started my 25yo 1250# Quarter Horse gelding on grain free. I have him in a small pasture with a little grass, unlimited coastal bermuda hay, 2# soaked alfalfa cubes with 1T added plain salt twice a day plus half a flake of alfalfa hay in the afternoon. Two weeks ago his minimal sweating almost stopped. These temps/humidity in Daytona Fl have been terrible so he has been suffering. I am hoping and praying the no grain diet works. He had lost quite a bit of weight after I moved and he had to leave is big grassy pasture and go to a much smaller pasture and initially I couldn’t get across to the the barn staff to feed him unlimited hay. We have worked out that problem and I increased grain and alfalfa and put him on a fat supplement. He has gained quite a bit but his topline has not come back. I am afraid he will start losing again without the grain and fat. I found my feed store has plain soybean meal so I planned to get some today. How much should he get and should I feed him more alfalfa or leave it as is?

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      Thanks for sharing. The top line is a reflection of muscle loss from “starvation” caused by carbohydrate dependency. To learn more, read all the “11 Pillars of Equine Nutrition” at or enroll in the Horsemanship Nutrition Course (link on the blog pages).

      Soy bean meal (without molasses) should be fed at 1 pound per day for a normal size horse. Adjust down for ponies and minis and up for drafts.

      Fat does NOT need to be fed to horses (they don’t have this in the real world). Fat comes from cellulose and a normal gut microbiome. Cellulose = a high fat diet.

      Grain = starch = glucose (sugar) which adds body fat = a sign of gut inflammation = muscle loss. This all sounds strange to horse owners because we have been conditioned with other (mis)information. Learn another way of looking at horse nutrition by reading the blogs or enrolling in the course. It will literally make your head spin – but it also answers the questions we all have been asking. Why are horses not doing well after 55 million years without humans?

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